You really have to wonder what John Kerry and John McCain are thinking when they try and foist a 26-year-old upon the public as an independent “expert” on the Syrian rebels. This young lady has been making the rounds writing op-eds and appearing on cable news shows, except now her credibility is strongly in question.
The woman whose opinion lawmakers are relying on to go to war in Syria is also a paid advocate for the war-torn country’s rebels.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged members of the House of Representatives to read a Wall Street Journal op-ed by 26-year-old Elizabeth O’Bagy — an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War — who asserted that concerns about extremists dominating among the Syrian rebels are unfounded.
“Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al-Qaida die-hards,” O’Bagy wrote for the Journal on Aug. 30. “Moderate opposition groups make up the majority of actual fighting forces,” she wrote.
But in addition to her work for the Institute for the Study of War, O’Bagy is also the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that advocates within the United States for Syria’s rebels — a fact that the Journal did not disclose in O’Bagy’s piece.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, O’Bagy said that despite her title as the group’s political director, she is paid as a contractor.
Indeed, she appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto Thursday. Check this out.
So she’s independent of this group? Really?
Yes, that’s her shown on their homepage as Political Director. But she’s just a contractor or something. OK.
In fact, at that site you can also find this from back in May.
She organized and facilitated McCain’s entry into Syria. But she’s got nothing to do with these folks. Well, now that we know many of these “rebels” are al-Qaeda, Kerry’s claims that we’re going there to help the so-called “moderates” is in question.
“There is a real moderate opposition that exists. Gen. Idriss is running the military arm of that,” Kerry said in reference to Gen. Salim Idriss, head of the rebel Free Syrian Army that is made up of former Syrian soldiers and others.
He referred to a report from Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War think-tank, which claimed that Islamic extremist factions are not “spearheading the fight against the Syrian government,” but rather that the struggle is being led by “moderate opposition forces.”
But in rebel-held Aleppo, the BBC reported that a 14-year-old boy was executed in public by Islamists for insulting Islam.
Yes, in addition to SETF, she’s also affiliated with this group.
Quite a resume for a 26-year-old. We rummaged around on some background for her but other than these links it was slim pickings. Probably becasue she also goes by the name Bailey O’Bagy.
Bryan Preston at PJ Media found her credibility wanting.
The nature of the rebellion is not what John Kerry says it is. The pro-moderate source Ron cites, Elizabeth O’Bagy, is dubious and may be involved in a disinformation campaign to sell the “moderate” face of an Islamist insurgency. She appeared on Fox again today and played word games about her role with the Syrian Emergency Task Force — she is their political director, and they have Islamist ties. In my mind, this discredits everything she says about the “moderate” forces in Syria.
In December, O’Bagy opposed the Obama administration’s attempts to designate al-Nusra — a powerful Syrian rebel group — as a terror organization because of its ties to al-Qaida.
“I’m not saying they aren’t a terrorist group. But given the circumstances and given their cooperation with the opposition as a whole, designating them now would be disastrous,” O’Bagy said to McClatchy newspapers in December 2012.
In April 2013, al-Nusra pledged loyalty to al-Qaida.
Bret Baier last night also pointed out her shaky credibility, or what’s left of it. It’s been demolished, along with Kerry’s and McCain’s.